Bringing Light & Colour To The Home With Celeste Interior Design
This week we teamed up with Christopher Claudio Skierka, a creative Interior Designer based in Manchester. His main ethos is to reflect his clients personality in the home; using colour, textures and lighting to help inject a full dose of charisma and individuality, truly making the home their own.
He takes an interest in the individual’s lifestyle, their character and how they want their home to feel. With this he goes away, wrestles with his thoughts, comes up with a plan and sources the goods before carefully implementing. His mixed origin of Polish and Italian roots give him the best of both worlds, claiming “Polish are well known to be into materials, such as soft furnishings, whereas Italians, well everything is art.”
With an impressive portfolio of both domestic and commercial interior design projects under his belt, Christopher is now in the notion of opening up his very own Interior Design studio in Macclesfield, just 16 miles down the road from his stomping ground in Manchester. His plan is to not only provide his Interior Design service to Maxonians and beyond, but also welcome visitors to an in-house art gallery and educational workshop.
Direct Trade Supplies are grateful for this aspirational gallivanter to take time out of his busy routine to share a few stories, projects and tips for us home-owners. So, with no time like the present, here it is…
Q&A Session With: Christopher Claudio Skierka @ Celeste Interior Design
Tell us a bit about yourself and the service that Celeste Interior Design provides?
In my teenage years I got involved in art but I was very unsure about what I exactly wanted to do, so for a number of years my profession was quite the opposite to what it is today. Eventually after carrying out a residential and coffee shop re-design in Italy, by accident actually, I decided to study design as well as art for a short time, then I just thought go for it. It probably wasn’t the best time to start after the 2008 credit crunch but I had and always will have the passion, persistence and a head full of ideas.
My service to you, your family’s needs or your clients (if it’s a commercial project), is to create a practical and beautiful interior. I hope to reflect individuality, through space planning, lighting and soft furnishings, also taking into account any architectural details and surroundings of the property as well as colour and designing bespoke furniture if required, the list is lengthy. I also help to source materials and project coordinate if you want me too. My price structure is very simple indeed.
Have you always had an interested in interior design or was it something you developed?
Well, for a long time I have been interested in looking at many different types of buildings and construction in general, including ships. I think you start in your mind from the exterior of an object and then work your way into the interior, I began to love light, colour and textures so much so I progressed into interior design. It was a natural progression, and I cannot think of anything else I would rather do.
Can you name a few of your most proudest and testing moments as a designer?
Apart from my first paid project, every project is my proudest. Everyone I have done work for has been so different in terms of their personality and expectations. The next project involves someone who is selling their home in ten years time but wants it to fit for a new family. So my mind tells me two things, to design it as a family home for the future but make sure it is perfect for the current occupier. It is very back to front, but I am going to love it and what’s more the owner is extremely high spirited so it’s double the fun. I recently designed a ‘Baroque’ style house for quite a private person, this was a 1 in 10,000 opportunity for me because I love Baroque but I know it isn’t to everyone’s taste.
What do you think are the most important factors to a successful project?
Well I think you have either got it, or you haven’t, no amount of education is going to make you complete unless you have that ‘thing’ for design work, and that is a vital ingredient for a successful project. The other is the client, the client needs to feel fully engaged and I need to understand exactly what they want. How? By literally sitting with the client talking, but more importantly listening; for as long as it takes and as many times as it takes. After all, I am recreating a place for human beings not statues. Passion and a care of people’s feelings is probably an easier way to sum it up.
Do certain types of projects excite you? What about the ones that daunt you?
Every project excites me, even the daunting ones, why? Well it is that challenge, a challenge to push them to a higher limit using just a little direction here and there. Soon they start to think and talk, and then their true unreserved feelings come out. Colourful projects excite me, I just want to add a shade of red somewhere but only if it fits. I never push them into anything, I never really have to because people eventually open up if you give them a chance.
I love rooms with big windows because then the colours are easier to introduce. On the other hand, dark spaces are also great, especially when the client learns to embrace the dark space and stops trying to brighten it with all too often white walls. There are other ways to make a room a room, even with low natural light.
You are based in Manchester, is there anything special about the area that sets it apart from the rest?
Manchester is a hub to other civilisations only a few miles out, the areas do differ, including the people, their needs and how they communicate. I’ve learnt that one has to be adaptable. For example I shall soon be working from my studio in Macclesfield.
Do you have any important ‘does & donts’ for our customers buying lighting?
- Work out the amount of light you require, research it or just hire someone like me who knows a bit more than you do. It could save you a lot of money in mistakes as well as arguments.
- Don’t always buy the cheapest; you may end up regretting it.
- Try to create layered lighting especially in the family home, rooms such as kitchen and bedrooms will massively benefit from layered effects.
- For locations that are hard to reach, try to convert to LEDs if you can, they require less maintenance attention since the bulb lasts a very long time.
- Check out who you buy from, there are a lot of very cheap bulbs on the internet but don’t just rush and buy them, check out the supplier, it could be a dangerous or substandard quality.
- Plan your lighting well in advance, if for example you are having an extension built then ceiling recesses are not always the best option. Even though it’s easier for the builder to install, bear in mind if they are over used they can become quite ugly.
Are there any tips you can provide the home-owner to help them improve their lighting?
Yes, think of all the users of the rooms and spaces. Try not to skimp on lighting even if it’s the cheapest thing to improve upon. Draw plans of each room, working out how much light you need and for what purposes. Light works well with all colours but bear in mind certain colours look different in bright or low light. You are probably better off getting the correct amount of light required and then changing a colour of the room appropriately.
Also certain colours have different effects on people’s moods. Work out your natural light first. If you study or have children that often do homework, then make sure the light they have is plentiful and their computer screens are in relation to the light source – their eyes are important.
How much time and energy do you spend on planning what lighting to use?
Without light you have no colour, that small sentence means the world. It is such an important factor not just for how things look or are seen to be (or sometimes not) but it’s also vital to us as humans. I think of lighting as soon as I greet the client, the first thing to consider is the sun and its direction.
The actual lighting plans I prepare are in the later stages, but ideas are written all the time. It is usual for me to change my ideas along the way, for example the bulb type, fitting or like in my current project a table to floor lamp. Think about the building you want to re design, question certain features such as are the walls solid brick? If they are, then certain types of light fittings won’t work. I probably spend 30% of my time on lighting design without even realising it.
If you could pick a few ways in which modern lighting could improve, what would it be?
Being able to bend light would be great! It all depends how you read the question. There is this ‘knee jerk’ reaction to put ceiling lights right in the middle of the ceiling with no careful thought process. It would be nice to see the end of drivers and transformers that you need for LED and Halogen lighting, these components can sometimes be rather problematic.
If the light fitting itself was universal then that would be terrific. Perhaps some more education for people about lighting, it is getting rather complicated, information on the lumens required for a particular room and why to install specific lamps would help to make people’s decision making a lot easier.
Do you have any future projects you’d like people to know about?
Yes, I am about to start fitting out my new design studio in the middle of Macclesfield which I hope will be a quirky store with interesting pieces on display. I will be concentrating on light fittings and wall coverings. It will also be home to an art gallery too, with the scope to introduce education workshops in art and design. I hope combining these new factors will in return improve the presence of my design services.
Any last words…?
Well I always say life is too short for an all grey room, so don’t be afraid to experiment, what is the worst that can happen, hey? You can always change it. Listen to your heart because it will tell you what you like and remember you live in the home you are in, so ‘live’ in it don’t just ‘exist’ in it, and do it in your own style and not somebody else’s.
If you would like to view further projects by Christopher and Celeste Interior Design then visit his website or get in touch with him direct on 07585 619591.